- A couple weeks ago, Lydia Sharp turned an old nursery rhyme into a fantastic analogy about writing styles. Are you a Butcher, a Baker, or a Candlestick Maker?
I’m a Candlestick Maker, for sure, but it took years of being a Baker, and then months of trying to be a Butcher, before I finally realized and accepted that. It took several more weeks before I could actually embrace it.
On that note… Honestly I think NaNoWriMo is great, but because it’s a celebration of/for Butchers, I often find myself working extra hard in November, even if I’m not participating, as I try to resist the backward slide of wanting to be a type of writer that I’m not.
- SF/F writer Diana Wynne Jones discusses “Two kinds of writing?” (originally published in 1990, which means things may have changed… or not):
For children, if I want to send a decrepit starship full of witches to a quasi-monastery in another adjacent universe, no one turns a hair. But adults are handicapped by terminal assumptions about what goes with which genre. If they think I am writing fantasy, then my belligerent witches must go on a Quest armed only with swords and spells and either on foot or horseback; and if what I am doing is to be science fiction, no one aboard my starship is allowed magic, but only scientific principles not altogether yet proven, such as an ability to travel faster than light.
I hate that. I hate being confined by expectations, by labels. Genres are helpful for libraries and book stores. I suppose they are helpful for some readers, too. But they are not helpful for writers. Or at least, not when they act like horizontal bars (cages) instead of vertical guides (railings).